Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits
6 Essential Planning & Design Considerations before
choosing your new Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits.
Firstly, a brief explanation of Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits or Sips home kits
The earliest concepts, of prefabricated Kit Homes, originated well over a century ago, in countries like England and America.
These, earlier homes were mainly timber kits, that comprised of many thousands of pieces of pre-cut lumber and barrels of nails etc., and a very large construction catalogue.
There is no doubt, these earlier kit homes would have been quite a mission to construct, even for experienced builders.
Fortunately, with advancements in technology, engineering and product development over the years, building construction has been made far simpler for builders or owner builders with the current world trend, moving towards pre-fabricated modular construction to assist with world wide housing shortages.
This style of construction, where the frame, the insulation, the internal lining and the external cladding, are factory produced as modular panels ready to stand, has many advantages.
Apart from being so much quicker and easier for the owner builder to construct, there is a significant reduction in on site waste, and job site debris disposal, usually found with a more traditional build.
Modern Prefab Kit Homes like Structural Insulated Panel home kits, or (SIPS) homes, are precision built modules or sections, fabricated under controlled conditions inside a factory.
Prior to the manufacture of each of these modular buildings, computer technology is incorporated, with the client’s preferred design entered into a unique 3D autocad system.
This system then details every component, for each module of the manufacturing process and becomes an integral part of the onsite assembly manual.
After a manufacture lead time of between 5-8 weeks, the pre cut modular kit is flat pack loaded on semi-trailers, and delivered to site, to be erected as a permanent dwelling.
With that introduction to Structural Insulated Panel home kits or (SIPS) kit homes out of the way. Let’s start with a few things to consider in the planning stages, before even starting to look for a Kit Home suitable for your project.
Add property value with your kit home design & finish
The era of modular kit homes being thought of as cheap, low quality construction, suitably mainly for site offices and mining camp Donga’s, has long since passed.
Evolving from decades of engineering design and construction refinement, and manufactured under controlled factory conditions using the latest computer technology, virtually any custom house plan can now be built as a modular home.
Modular Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits, can now not only rival any site-built homes in strength and stylish design, but exceed them with energy efficiency, sustainability and functionality.
A fine cement rendered finish in the colour of your choice along with the modern Saw Tooth roof design will allow your Home or Granny Flat to blend in seamlessly with new architectural designs and add value to your property.
For photo’s, floor plans and design choices visit :
Great preparation is the foundation for success with any of life’s ventures. The same is true for laying a solid foundation for your new home.
One of the first things to consider is getting a Geotechnical Engineers soil report on the actual proposed house site location. A soil report is essential for all new home building applications, so it will be required by the engineer that designs the slab or footings for building approval.
This will show up indicators of likely extra excavation costs when placing slabs or footings, should there be the presence of rock or boulders just under the surface.
It could also reveal a P rating which is a problem rating from a highly reactive solid clay soil or previous use of poor quality fill on the site.
It is certainly an advantage to be forewarned of any potential budget blowout from excessive site preparation expenses.
An effluent disposal management or Hydraulics report will need to be completed at the same time for enviro septic, or pump out systems, if it is not a sewered block.
If your site is reasonably level than a slab foundation may be the most cost efficient option, but if the site has a fall of 10 degrees or more, a raised flooring system may be more practical.
With a substantial fall on the block, cut and fill for a slab foundation may create drainage problems, or the need for retaining walls.
Retaining walls over a metre high can add substantial extra costs, as they will require engineer design as well.
Orientation for Passive Design
Passive design in simple terms, means designing your home to work within the natural climatic environment of your particular location, rather than relying on more expensive mechanical heating and cooling methods.
This includes orientation of your new home on the block to take advantage of the sun’s path for heating, local prevailing breezes and shading from trees and window positioning etc. for flow through ventilation for natural cooling.
A very fairly extensive pdf article on Passive Design can be found here https://www.innovationhouse.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/YOURHOME-%20Orientation.pdf
The Australian Government website http://www.yourhome.gov.au/ has some great information for the new home builder.
There is a lot to consider with passive design, so if it becomes a little overwhelming, there are professionals like http://www.ecolibrium.com.au/ on the Sunshine Coast that specialise in just that.
They will work closely with you to design a sustainable, energy efficient home from scratch or modify a plan you have in mind to achieve a passive design specifically for your block.
Consider adding a covered outside entertainment area.
When you have decided on the best orientation for your home on the block, an important consideration for the Australian way of life is to consider the addition of a covered outdoor entertainment area or veranda with your new kit home.
We all enjoy having friends over for the traditional Aussie BBQ, or even somewhere to just sit and relax in a comfy chair with a cold ale and watch the world go by.
Whatever the reason, with our mostly sunny climate, a covered entertainment area will be worth it’s weight in gold and can add great resale value to the property.
Should the budget not allow that expense upfront, it is worth considering to build to a 2.7m wall or ceiling height on the main dwelling.
This will allow you to add an awning roof out to 3m wide from the eaves with a 5 deg. pitch at a later date and still have an approximate 2.4m clear under roof at the outside edge.
For the span of an attached awning from my experience, anything less than 2.4m out from the building would not be a viable investment.
You need at least enough room to be able to sit around a table and chairs without getting sunburnt or wet if it’s raining.
Insulated panel awnings generally 75mm thick with a flat white colorbond underside, are a good option for controlling the heat under the roof, but are also one of the easier ones to clean on the underside, where moths have a habit of laying their egg cases.
Look for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in your new Kit Home. (Consider future generations)
There is no escaping the reality anymore, that Climate Change and Global Warming is perhaps the greatest challenge facing humanity today.
There are greater levels of Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere now than ever before in human history.
Australia unfortunately, has the unenviable distinction of having one of the highest ecological footprints of any world nation, at around 3 times the global average.
The average Australian Home is responsible for around 7 Tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, with the largest consumption of that household energy, more than 40%, resulting from heating and cooling accounts.
With these figures in mind, it is worth considering a stronger and safer designed, more airtight and energy efficient construction, like a Structural Insulated Panel Home Kit ( SIPS) for your new build.
This style of construction requires very little energy to maintain a comfortable temperature range internally, without having to rely heavily on expensive mechanical heating and cooling.
Air leakage in the average home is responsible for over 40% of heating or cooling loss, but SIPS homes have routinely been tested to be up to 5 times more airtight than the more traditional stick framed houses with fibreglass insulation.
The lighter weight of Structural Insulated Panels as a building material, contradicts their superior strength, as they share similar structural properties to an I-Beam.
Each 100mm thick wall module, with rigid EPS insulation core acts as the web while Magnesium Oxide Board ( one of the greenest building products on the planet) cladding adhered to each side fulfils the function of the flanges.
The Mgo board lining has some great advantages over a lot of the more commonly used building products as it is water resistant, mould resistant, insect resistant and almost impenetrable by
As an internal lining the Mgo board is much tougher and more difficult to damage than plasterboard, yet still has the smooth internal finish of any master built home, making this style of dwelling ideal for investors rental properties.
Modular, energy efficient, Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits provide the future of climate change housing in Australia, with the following benefits :
- Quality homes that are naturally more comfortable in
Winter and Summer.
- Better control over internal air quality with a more airtight construction.
- Significantly lower energy bills for the life of the home.
- Significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Modular panel form makes these homes far quicker and simpler for the owner builder to construct,with all components straight and square from the factory , as the image below shows the top of a long wall.
Consider Fire Safe Construction Material
A consideration that many home builders give very little thought to, is the fire safety of the construction material, and internal finishing products of their new home.
Over 8,000 house fires a year, is a figure that relates to just the three states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and that is not counting homes lost to bushfires.
Along with that comes a tragic loss of precious lives, loss of possessions and ruined futures.
The estimated escape time from fire in a typical modern home, built with standard prevalent building materials, is only 3 to 5 minutes, in comparison to homes of 30 to 50 years ago of 15-17 minutes.
More natural products like timber, were used in the older homes for walls, floors, kitchens and furniture, with natural fibres like wool and cotton used for furniture coverings, curtains and blankets etc.
A lot of the building materials and contents in the modern homes are either plastics, or synthetic material and these components are mostly petroleum based.
This causes a modern house fire to burn up to 8 times faster and produce up to 200% more smoke, also full of toxins.
Accidental house fires and fatalities, will always be an inevitable part of human existence, but I believe there is so much more that governments and the building industry could be doing to save precious lives.
Just the use of, more fire resistant products, like the Magnesium Oxide Board for walls, ceilings and soffits would help to allow more time to escape and save lives.
A Canadian company with a magnesium oxide board panel construction, conducted a controlled fire test to show the difference between the magnesium panel construction and a more traditional build.
The video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nxZFo-ICPo
Just a quick recap of the main reasons to consider a SIPS modular construction for your next new family home, granny flat, or duplex investment.
- Aesthetic stylish appeal of modern homes with rendered finish.
- Designed simplicity for Owner Builder construction
- Acoustically quieter homes internally
- Stronger more airtight construction
- Manufactured under controlled factory conditions using very sustainable and eco-friendly components
- High performing rigid foam insulated walls and double insulated roof with double glazed windows and glass doors, provides a very energy efficient home that will go on saving on power bills for the life of the dwelling.
- Using the revolutionary new mgo. Board cladding that is insect resistant, mould resistant, water resistant and almost impenetrable by fire.
- Stainless steel security screens on all external windows and glass doors as standard.
So consider your family’s comfort, safety and security, and take a good look at the modular designed,
Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits, from Panelock Building Solutions for your new home.
More information on the website at http://panelockbuildingsolutions.com.au